What are the top 10 reasons to go fermented?
1. Helps reduce anti-nutrients. “Fermentation is key for breaking down anti-nutrients, such as phytic acid, cyanoglucosides, and lectins,” says Dr. Kate Rhéaume, ND, health educator on behalf of Natural Factors. “These anti-nutrients are natural substances found in plant materials, but can hinder mineral absorption.”
2. Increases vitamin and mineral levels. “In the process of fermenting foods, certain microbes produce small amounts of some B vitamins,” says Robert Hutkins, PhD, a fermentation expert at the University of Nebraska. “In some cases vitamin B12 may be produced, which could be relevant to vegans and vegetarians who are more likely to fall short on B12.” Fermentation also increases levels of vitamins A, C, and K in some foods and improves mineral bioaccessibility.
3. Improves phytonutrient content and absorption. Fruits and veggies are rich in antioxidants and other beneficial phytonutrients. When these foods are fermented, the phytonutrients are better retained.
4. Makes carbs easier to digest. Fermented carbs are often easier to digest than unfermented ones. In part because some microbes can produce enzymes, such as cellulases and pectinases, that people don’t have.
5. Enhances quality and absorbability of plant protein. Fermentation may increase availability of certain amino acids. Fermentation has been found to increase protein absorption by up to 40 percent.
6. Promotes gut health and strengthens gut barrier. “The fiber in vegetables and fruits act as prebiotics, nourishing the gut microbiota,” says Hutkins. “But, there are also other components, such as polyphenols and B vitamins, in these foods that may promote a healthy microbiota in other ways.”
7. Supports healthy blood sugar levels. Fermenting legumes and grains, which have resistant starch, can help decrease their blood sugar impact.
8. Promotes heart health. Green leafy vegetables support healthy cholesterol levels. They are also a rich source of potassium and magnesium, which are minerals that support healthy blood pressure levels. Studies suggest fermenting the greens can boost their quota of these minerals.
9. Supports emotional and cognitive health. When foods are fermented, new kinds of helpful compounds are created, including ones with mental health benefits. Additionally, we know our gut microbiota is tied to brain functions, such as our stress response. Preliminary studies also suggest some fermented medicinal mushrooms may support cognitive function.
10. Guards against harmful bacteria. During food fermentation, certain microbes produce natural antimicrobial agents such as bacteriocins. “These tiny, heat-stable peptides help inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria,” says Dr. Rhéaume.
You’re probably already eating some fermented foods, but have you tried supplements, such as Whole Earth & Sea 100% Fermented Organic Greens from Natural Factors? This vegan supplement is a convenient way to pack in 8 servings’ worth of fruits and veggies.